Friday, April 29, 2011

Is it Ya'll or You All?

1 Thessalonians 1-Part 2
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and ou Father. 1 Thess. 1:2-3


How are ya'll doin today?
One time, when I was a kid, my mom, brother, and I went on a vacation, which included stoppin' to yak with cousins in Arizona. Since we'd never seen 'um ' fore, they noticed that we was wearin' shoes. Now, I guess usins' Hillbillies have a reputation for not wearin' shoes, that I didn't no 'bout at the time. So my answer was "Yeah" but would have been "Duh" in modern terms. I 'spose they'd seen Little Abner, The Beverly Hillbillies, or visited Dog Patch USA (an amusement park with a hillbilly theme).

Ya'll know  I grew up on a chicken and cattle farm in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. We'uns go bare foot and sit on the front porch swing on a hot summer's evenin' talkin' 'bout the day. Neighbors stop and yak as they go down our road here. It's a place where the dogs and cats run free without a collar 'cause the neighbors know who owns 'um. Anyway, youns must know that I am excited. I found Paul sayin' YOU ALL in the Bible. Sho' 'nuff. I ain't joshin'. Now it ain't  spelled "ya'all" but it is there. (Did you hear my southern accent? It was a little exaggerated, 'caus youns no we don't talk that way here now, only in movies.) Just to let ya'll no, or is it you all, anyways, I nos the proper way to talk now, 'cause I'm educated with a college degree and all. Thought I'd throw that in.

In verse 2, Paul is saying "you all" but why? He is giving thanks for the believers in Thessalonica. Also, he and his companions prayed together frequently for the entire flock. Three of those prayers are offered in this letter. They are found in 1:2-3, 3:11-13, and 5:23-24. (John MacArthur)

Charles Swindoll, in his book, Contagious Christianity, said:
How easy and enjoyable it is to pray for people who give us reason to be grateful! They often prove to be accepting and affirming, real instead of phony, and supportive and giving rather than subversive and grabby. Just as the Thessalonians gave Paul reason to be thankful for them, we should also give others reason to be grateful for our presence in their lives.

Am I a person for which others pray? Are they grateful for me? Especially, my family should be glad I'm a part of them.


In verse 3, we see the threefold combination of faith, hope, and love, which is a Pauline favorite. He also uses it in 5:8, 1 Cor. 13:13, and Col. 1:4-5.( The MacArthur Bible Commentary)

Contagious Christianity says this:
Paul specified three things about the Thessalonian believers that caused him to regularly remember them in prayer. First was their "work of faith"-that is, their good works that flowed from their Christian faith, Second, was their "labor of love" or, put another way, their active toiling that was prompted by their love. And third was their "steadfastness of hope" their ability to persevere under the pressures of life because they had their hope fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ. (emphasis mine)

Do others see my work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope? Better yet, do they see that I have faith, love, and hope?


Let others see my faith, love, and hope is in Jesus.

Pray for others giving thanks for them.

Lord, thank you for all who stop by on this blog. Please bless them today with increased faith, love, and hope from You.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Grace and Peace

1 Thessalonians 1-Part 1
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
1 Thess. 1:1b


Let's travel back in time. This book in the Bible is not placed in chronological order with the time frame we finished in the prison letters by Paul. Instead, The First Epistle to the Thessalonians was written by Paul during his year and a half stay in Athens, Corinth in 51 A.D. It was written after the letter to the Galatians and before letters were written to the Romans, Corinthians, and prison letters, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians churches. Paul was on his second missionary journey when he wrote it. 

Thessalonica was a Roman free city, the capital of the provice of Macedonia. It had a strong city government. Due to its location, on the Egnatian Way, the East-West Roman highway, Thessalonica was an important city. It was a hub of political and commercial activity in Macedonia. Its population reached 200,000 in Paul's day.

This church was founded when Paul was traveling on his second missionary journey, accompanied by Silas (Silvanus) and Timothy. Silas joined Paul at the city of Derbe and Timothy joined them at Lystra. Here we have the missionary team, sent by the church at Jerusalem. They go into Europe where the gospel was unheard. If you want details of Paul's travel, begin in Acts 16. A map in the back of your Bible will help locate their sities of travel. At Thessalonica, many people believed in Jesus, due to Paul's preaching. They were Greek men and influential women. Paul stayed in Corinth a year and a half, where he penned this letter.

Purposes for this Letter:

John MacArthur, in his book, The MacArthur Bible Commentary,  gives us 9 reasons for Paul's writing to the Thessalonians, coming out of his supreme concern for the flock from which he had been seperated:
1. encouraging the church
2. answering false allegations
3. comforting the persecuted flock
4. expressing his joy in their faith
5. reminding them of the importance of moral purity
6. condemning the sluggard lifestyle
7. correcting a wrong understanding of prophetic events
8. defusing tensions within the flock
9. exhorting the flock in the basics of Christian living.

Since Paul's initial converts were Jewish, he made it unmistakably clear that this "church" was not a Jewish assembly, but rather one which gathered in the name of Jesus, the Son of God (Acts 17:2-3), who is both Lord God and Messiah. (MacArthur)

In Charles Swindoll's book, Contagious Christianity, a Study of First Thessalonians, says:
Once individuals trust in Christ for their salvation, they are transferred from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of light (Col.1:12-13). They become citizens in God's forever kingdom, and they can never lose their citizenship (John 10:27-29). Now since this is true, citizens of God's kingdom are expected to live a certain way. Their lives are to be maked by grace and peace.

Grace is divine influence upon the heart and peace is quietness, rest  as found in Strong's Dictionary.

Is my life marked by grace and peace? They are given by God through knowing Jesus.
Have you noticed that Paul usually begins and ends his letters sending grace and peace to the readers?
Paul experienced the grace of God, didn't he? How else could he endure all that he did, except with the peace of his Savior Jesus Christ? The world wants and seeks peace, but it only comes from one source, God.

Seek God for His grace and peace, not the world.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where am I Walking?

Summary of Colossians

Paul had never been to Colosse. This letter to the Colossian church was one of four that Paul wrote during his first Roman imprisonment. Timothy and five other men were with Paul during this time. Paul tells who they were in chapter 4.
Because the Gnostics were trying to influence this church with its heiracy, false teachings, Paul Paul taught some doctrine. They were urging people to leave their Christian roots and accept their religious ideas.

One theme that predominates in Colossians is the supremacy of Christ. Christ is the sufficency for the total Christian life. Only He is worthy of worship and obedience, not angels, as Gnotics believed. Paul urges these believers, and us, to be firm in faith, committed to Christ, live and grow in Him.

Christ is both Creator and Reconciler (1:15-23). We are to abandon our sins of our old life and cultivate the virtues of the new life (3:5-4:6). Paul's thanksgiving embraces three aspects of the Christian church-their faith, love, and hope.

Paul identified three characteristics of those who walk in God's will:
1. They continue to grow spiritually.
2. They persevere.
3. They are joyfully thanking the Father.
[Resource: Shepherd's Notes]

Where am I walking, in my will, or in God's will? I want to walk in God's will. How about you?

Here are a few gold nuggets highlighted in the book of Colossians:
*That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing
   in the knowledge of God. (1:10)
*In whom (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. (1:14)
*And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he
   reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable
   in his sight.  (1:21-22)
*In whom (Christ) are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (2:3).
*For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (2:9)
*If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of
   God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid
   with Christ in God. (3:1-3)
* There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but
   Christ is all, and in all. (3:11)
*Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind,
   meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel
   against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. and above all these things put on charity (love),
   which is the bond of perfectness. (3:12-14)
* Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms
   and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (3:16)
*And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the
   Father by him. (3:17)
*And whatsoever ye do, o it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. (3:23)
*Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. (4:2)
*Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. (4:5)
*Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every
   man. (4:6)

Thank you, dear friend, that you have taken time to walk with me through the book of Colossians. I have learned many things and hopefully you have also. May we be challenged to do whatsever we do heartily as to the Lord and not to people, or for our glory. As Paul ended his letter, so do I:
Grace be with you.

Join me tomorrow as I begin a new journey through the two epistles Paul wrote to the believers at Thessalonica.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Keep an Eye On

Colossians 4-Part 5 And say to Archippus, "Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you." HERE IS MY GREETINGS IN MY OWN HANDWRITING-Paul.
Remember my chains.
May God's grace be with you.
Colossians 4:17-18  NLT


Paul's letter ends with a person touch. He signed the greeting in his hand. This means that someone else penned the epistle, which happened to be common in the first century and with Paul's letters. It might have been due to Paul's poor eyesight that prohibited his actually writing these letters. The authenticity came from his signature.
In verse 18, Paul gives the two final reminders:
1. "Remember my chains." Paul was asking the Colossians to remember and intercede for him in prayer.
2. Paul reminded the Colossians of God's grace. He ends his letter where he began it, with the principle of
    grace, that God supplies salvation freely, that He requires nothing but a trust in the work of His son, Jesus,
    and that grace sustains the Christian's life. If God's grace is with the Colossians, they need nothing else.
    [from Shepherd's Notes]

God's grace is a free gift that we don't deserve. We are saved by it through faith, not of works, so we can't boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9) How wonderful is this gift! Have you received it?


I like the way the King James Version says verse 17, "Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it."

Heed, according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, means to look at, beware, perceive, regard.

Liberty Bible Commentary says it this way, "Take heed-keep an eye on. Archippus was called of the Lord, and most probably had some ministerial responsibility in the church at Colossae. Paul tells him to keep on filling to the full, discharge fully (his calling). This is a lifetime job. God does not discharge His servants."

This makes me think about my situation. I keep an eye on the cattle that are here on our farm. Even though most of them belong to our son and his wife, I still watch out for them. During the calfing season, I notice whenever a cow is down, or off in the corner alone. I've learned that this is a sign of her time to give birth is near, or she is currently in the process. This has been benificial since there have been times that the cows have needed help in delivery. Thus the newborn calf and mamma are saved.

Am I keeping an eye on my calling as a Christian to witness, read the Word, pray, teach God's Word, support my church, encourage believers?


Be grateful for God's grace to me.

Stay faithful to my calling.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Greetings-To and From

Colossians 4
Tychicus will give you a full report about how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper who serves with me in the Lord's work. I have sent him to you for this very purpose-to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you. I am also sending Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, one of your own people. He and Tychicus will tell you everything that's happening here.    Colossians 4:7-9  NLT


I enjoy receiving a nice card or letter from a family member or friend. Birthday cards are usually all that I send out anymore. Now that there is email, facebook, and cell phones, I rarely write a letter. A letter that's signed by the author instead of typed is so much more personal. Don't you think? Why don't I write more, since I enjoy receiving them so much? Paul wrote many letters that we have as part of our New Testament. I'm glad he liked writing them and wasn't sloughful like me.

We are coming to the closing part of this letter to the Colossian church. Paul has decided who he wants to carry the letter to the church. He chose Tychicus and Onesimus. Letters were often carried by personal messengers in the first century. This made the communication more meaningful.
Apparently the Colossian Christians didn't know who Tychicus was. Actually, I don't remember either. Shall we find out?

-his name means "fortuitous" or "fortunate",
-a beloved brother in the faith,
-a faithful minister,
-a fellow servant in the Lord,
-a Gentile convert Paul took to Jerusalem as a representative of Gentile churches (Acts 20:4),
-a reliable companion of Paul and capable leader, since he was considered as a replacement for Titus and
  Timothy (2 Tim. 4:12, Titus 3:12),
-had the responsibility to deliver Paul's letters to the Ephesians (6:21) and Philemon (verse 9) and the

-a faithful and dear brother in the faith,
-a runaway slave whose return to his master, a believer in Colossae, was the basis for Paul' letter to
-he came in contact with Paul in Rome, became a Christian while there, and was a dedicated helper to Paul.
  His story is continued in Paul's letter to Philemon.

Am I considered a faithful, dear friend in the Lord to others? Am I a reliable fellow servant of the Lord Jesus?


Paul sends greetings to the Colossians from five men who were with Paul in Rome. I wondered who some of these men were. Here's what I found out:
-fellow prisioner, fone of three Jewish believers with Paul at the time,
-a native of Thessalonica,
-one of Paul's companions who was seized aby a rioting mob in Ephesus (Acts 19:29),
-accompanied Paul on his trip to Jerusalem and his voyage to Rome (Acts 27:2).

-after having a fallen out of favor with Paul for some time, he's seen here as one of Paul's key helpers
  (2 Tim. 4:11),

Jesus called Justus:
-comforted Paul in his trial
-one of three with Paul at the time of writing,
-could have been one of Romans Jews who believed Paul's message (Acts 28:24).

-was so concerned about the heresy at Colossae that he made the long journey to Rome (verse 12, 13),
-remained behind in Rome, mayabe to receive further instruction from Paul (Philemon 23),
-prays earnestly for this church asking God to make them strong and perfect, fully confident that they're
  following the whole will of God (verse 12 NLT),
-prays for believers at Laodicea and Hierapolis.

-Paul's personal physician and close friend who traveled frequently with him on missionary journeys,
-wrote the Gospel of Luke  and the Book of Acts,
-had a significant role in the early church.

-accompanied Paul to Rome, but later deported because he "loved this world." (2 Tim. 4:9-10)

Paul instructs the readers to send his greetings to the Laodicean church, to encourage believers there,
(Book of Ephesians may have been delivered to them first); to Nympha (church at Laodicea met at her house in Acts 12:12); to Archippus (maybe son of Philemon), to encourage him.

"The Epistle to the Ephesians was a circular letter to various churches in the province of Asia, one copy going to Laodiceas and to be passed on to Colossae as the Colossian letter was to be sent to Laodicea," by A.T. Robertson in Word Pictures of the New Testament.

Are my writings an encouragement to others through my emails, Facebook conversations, and cards, and blogs? How about you? Like Paul said to the Philippian church, "whasoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, think on these things."
[Resources: The MacArthur Bible Commentary, Shepherd's Notes, David Guzik's Commentary on the Bible]


Mail out more letters and cards of encouragement.

Share the love of Christ with someone today.

Be a beloved sister in the faith and a faithful helper to a believer today.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Will

Because Sunday is Easter, I thought it would be appropriate to have a special lesson in lieu of the regular one. The references used are Beth Moore's Jesus The One and Only and Ann Voskamp's blog.

Find Luke 22, the scene of the Last Supper, in order to use it along with the Scripture below. The four cups of wine served at the Passover meal represented the four expressions, or "I wills" of God's promises in Exodus 6:6-7:
Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

Christ and His disciples observed the entire Passover meal together. He instituted the new covenant, which was represented by the bread and the wine. Christ knew He was the fulfillment of Passover. A commited Jewish family would observe the Passover each year. Not only was it a time of family worship, but it was also a time of teaching the children the significance of each part of the Passover. Let's visit the upper room with Jesus and His disciples during the Last Supper they had together. What was it like?

1. I will bring you out-Cup of Sanctification

At sundown, Christ and His disciples,  gathered around the table. There were four cups sitting on the Jewish Passover table. Christ took the father's role in the observance. Soon after they gathered together, He poured the first of four cups of wine and asked everyone to rise from the table. Then, He lifted His cup towards heaven and recited the Kiddush, or prayer of sanctification similar to this:
"Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Who createst the fruit of the vine. Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, Who hast chosen us for Thy service from among the nations... Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Who hast kept us in life, Who hast preserved us, and hast enabled us to reach this season."
It was likely the blessing He recited in Luke 22:17.
Sanctification means "set apart" for service to God. What did God do for us? He created all things, chose us for His service, He kept us in life, and He preserves us.

Following tradition, the group would have taken the first cup of wine, asked the above blessing, observed a ceremonial washing, and broke the unleavened bread. Immediately to follow would have been a literal enactment of Exodus 12:26-27. The youngest child present asks the traditional Passover questions, provoking the father to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt. (John may have been the one to ask such questions at the Last Supper because of his position at the table (John 13:23) or his being the youngest disciple.

2. I will deliver you-Cup of Deliverance

At this point in the meal, Christ poured the second cup of wine and narrated the story of Israel's exodus in response to the questions. Here was Christ, the Lamb of God, sitting at their table, telling the redemption story! Recounting the story was a preview of His fulfilling it at the very next sundown.

God delivered the Hebrews, His children from the bondage of slavery after four hundred years. He also delivered them from the ten plagues which came upon Egypt. The blood of the lamb was sprinkled over the doorposts of the house where each Hebrew family was staying, before the meal was eatten. The Lord passed over that house when He saw the blood, thus the first born of that Hebrew family did not die that night. They were under the blood.

Jesus, the One sent "to proclaim freedom for the prisoner" (Luke 4:18), told the story of captives set free, spared from death by the blood of the Lamb.What a perfect plan of redemption, secured before God ever breathed a soul into man. He provided a "way of escape" for all who would choose it. Christ was named the Lamb slain before the creation of the world (Rev. 13:8).

Jesus and His disciples ate the meal between the second and third cups. Exodus 12 gives the details of meal. They ate roasted lamb, see Ex. 12:5 for requirements,  (Jesus is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, as John 1:29 stated.) did not break any of its bones (Exodus 12:46), as none of Jesus' bones were broken (John 19:36) because He was dead already when they came to take Him off the cross, so they ramed the spear into His side; unleavened bread (leaven represents sin) with bitter herbs-the whole experience of the release of the Hebrews was bitter (a modern cracker dipped in horseradish, eatten with a sweet apple would signify the bitter and sweetness of the exodus).

"Why a Christian Family May Celebrate Passover" a post on Ann Voskamp's blog:
(Ann's children ask the questions.)
Question 1: Why are we eating unleavened bread, or matzah, tonight?
                   "Because tonight we remember Jesus. By whose stripes we are healed. Yeast  
                   leavens, puffs up, as pride and sin inflates our hearts. Tonight we eat unleavened
                   bread, bread without yeast, to remember Jesus who was without sin."

These questions are so we know where we come from. These are questions to know that, because of Him, all of life's answers are now possible.

Question 2: Why are we eating bitter herbs?
                   " Lifting a small, silver spoonful of horseradish, I trace time's prints back. Exodus
                   12:8 and so we do too. To remember the bitterness of the cruel slavery of the Israelites to
                   Pharoah, to recall the bitterness of our relentless, ugly bondage to sin. We eat the bitter
                   herbs with the matzah to remember how Jesus, our Bread of Life, has paid the price and
                   absorbed our bitter sins."

Question 3: Why tonight do we dip our herbs twice?
                    Picking up the evergreen parsley, I close my eyes, as my husband speaks the scene, "Our
                    fathers dipped hyssop branches into the blood of the Passover lamb, that they might
                    mark their doorposts."
                    He dips a parsley again, this time into a small glass dish of apples and raisins. "But now
                    we have hope. Because of the blood shed by the thorns piercing Jesus' brow. Because of
                    the blood from the wounds of the nails, that we, in faith, mark on the door of our hearts.
                    Now we wipe away our tears, for we have glorious, endless new life in Christ. We have
                    been rebirthed into His hope."

Question 4: Why are we eating this meal reclining?
                    "Because our Passover Lamb has brought our freedom. Tonight we remember that we
                    are no longer slaves, but children of the very King of Kings. Free men, royalty, reclined
                    while eating. So as Jesus who reclined at the Last Supper, we too recline tonight, for we
                    are free to come before God who is upon the Throne."

In the culminating twinkling of toast glasses, so come my answer to why we keep Passover. It isn't about keeping laws and regulation. It isn't about keeping our burdens. It isn't about keeping some empty, meaningless customs. On the night of the four question, the answer gurgled in the stream of time: Keeping Passover is about keeping our way down this river of life. It is about the questions that keep time to the beat of our children's heart:
Why am I here? What does all of this living really mean? Where am I headed? When will I be all that I am to be?
And this story, His story, His 3,000 year old Passover story has answers, told on a quiet evening in spring when the trees are budding under nesting birds. When all the rivers run alive and swift and forever, free...
(Thanks goes to Ann for sharing her family, her faith, her blessed writing abilities.)

3. I will redeem you-Cup of Redemption
This cup could be the symbolic cup to which Christ referred  later in the garden of Gethsemane when He asked God to "take this cup from me" (Luke 22:42). This was a cup He could partake only with outstretched arms upon the cross.
The imminent fulfillment of the cup of redemption signaled the release of the new convenant that would be written in blood. Christ didn't leterally drink this third cup because He stated in Luke 22 that He would not drink of another cup until the coming of the kingdom of God. In essence, He would become the cup and pour out His life for the redemption of man.

4. I will take you-Cup of Praise

In Exodus 6:7, God says He will take us for His people. We are Christians because we become Christlike when we accept His sacrifice.
When the meal was ended, the disciples sang Ps. 118 as they left. This was the cup of praise, acceptance, in gathering. Verse 24 states "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

In Luke 22, they partook of the Lord's Supper, where the bread represented Jesus' body that He freely gave as our sacrificial lamb to take away our  sins, and the wine represented Jesus' blood that He shed for us. Jesus is our Bread of Life and our Living Water.

Reflecting on this whole story is not only a sad time but a rejoicing time for Christians. Jesus is our Bread of Life. He gives abundant life for those who take of this bread. His blood, the essence of life, was shed for yours and my sins. His blood covers us, spiritually making us clean, so we can come before God in prayer.

Have you come to This Savior Who gave His very life for you? All you need to do is believe in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died in your place, ask His forgiveness of your sins, calling upon His name. Then you will have the best Easter you ever had!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Seasoned as Green Beans

Colossians 4-Part 3
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.  Colossians 4:6  KJV
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.  NAS
Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.  NLT
Always talk pleasantly, season your talk with salt so you will know how you should answer everone.  Beck


Paul is telling me, as a Christian, how to speak. Always speak with grace; always speak graciously. What is that like?

John MacArthur says, in The MacArthur Bible Commentary:
To speak with grace is to speak what is spiritual, wholesome, fitting, kind, sensitive, purposeful, complimentary, gentle, truthful, loving, and thoughtful.

Grace is that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness; grace of speech.
(Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)

I know some people who speak in that manner. They are pleasant to be around. They aren't critical, always fault finding, like others I know. I need to work on what I say and how I say it.


Green beans without salt? Oooo, how flat and yucky.
I recall how my summers were spent during my childhood, helping Mom can fruits and vegetables. Since green beans were my favorite vegetable, I didn't mind snipping off the ends, then snapping them into thirds. I could do a handful in no time. One thing Mom always did before putting the lids on top of the jars was to add salt to each one. I didn't think anything about it at the time, so I didn't ask her why she did that. Now that I have grown up, I know that the salt was a preservative and it added flavor. It kept the beans from going bad. Of course, the pressure cooker cooked them. What did Paul say should be seasoned with salt? My speech? Why does it  need to be salty? Shall we check it out?

Salt had three uses in Paul's day: it could (1) preserve a food, (2) "sterilize" a food, or (3) season a food. In this passage, Paul takes the last meaning. Conversation is to be seasoned, that is, acceptable and inoffensive.
(Shepherd's Notes)

Just as salt not only flavors, but prevents corruption, the Christian's speech should act not only as a blessing to others, but as a purifying influence within the decaying society of the world. (John MacArthur)

The Greek word for salt, is halas, which  means prudence. (Thayer's Lexicon)
Prudence means descretion, which is careful, wise, according to Webster's Dictionary.

So my words, conversation, needs to be thought about, not just blurted out. Without thought, that's when they tend to be not so gracious.
Liberty Bible Commentary says:
Christ was full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Christians are to be gracious, pleasant, attractive, winsome, and courteous. Their speech is to be seasoned with salt, not flat, not dull, not tasteless. Christians are to have an edge of liveliness, and to be marked by purity, wholesomeness, and hallowed pungency. This is so we know how to answer everyone. It is in order that we can adapt the message to the situation and speak appropriately to each and every man.   

 How would my words be described by others? Are they gracious and nice and salty? Or do they sting, like salt in a  sore? Is my speech seasoned like green beans, with grace and truth? He is the Potter, I am the clay. My conversation needs some reshaping.
All of this is so I know how to answer when people ask questions about the Lord, salvation, and meaning of Scriptures.


Be more gracious and pleasant in my conversations.

Be salty in my words, telling about Jesus.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Open Doors

Colossians 4-Part 2
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
Colossians 4:5


I like springtime. The weather warms up so I can open the front door and see out. We have a glass outer door. I enjoy seeing the green grass covering the hills, trees getting their green leaves back, flowers and dandelions popping their heads up out of the earth, various colored birds singing in trees. This is especially enjoyable after experiencing a long winter of weeks with the ground covered in deep white snow. Sometimes I walk through the open door and sometimes I just look out of it. There are other doors that can be opened. Paul talks about one.

Paul asks the Colossians to pray for him and Timothy to have "a door for the Word." He wants an opportunity for preaching the Word of God, which would be best afforded by his release from prison.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 16:9, "For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries."  
In 2 Corinthians 2:12, Paul said, Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord."
Paul realizes that it is the Lord who opens this door of opportunity to speak about the mystery of Christ. We know he was faithful to those opportunities because servants of the King's household were saved as a result.

Am I looking for those open doors? Do I walk through them and share Christ with a lost soul when it is available in conversation?  Or do I just look at the door?


Looking at verses 5 and 6, David Guzik said,"Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside: the Christian life isn't only lived in the prayer closet. There also must be "shoe-leather Christianity," which lives wisely toward those who are outside. How we speak has a lot to do with this, so we must let our speech always be with grace. If only Christians could speak with grace as well as they seem to speak with gossip. Christians should seek answers in God's Word, and communicate those answers to those who are outside."

The way I walk is my behavior. I am to conduct myself wisely, prudent in behavior and discreet in conduct.
Redeeming the time refers to buying up the opportunity for one's self; making wise and sacred use of every opportunity; using the time to the best possible advantage. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

Am I walking in wisdom toward those unsaved?


Look for open doors to share Christ with the lost.

Let my behavior honor Christ.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pickin' and Choosin' in Prayer

Colossians 4-Part 1
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.   Colossians 4:2


I must confess that there are times that I grow weary in praying for others. How about you? Maybe it's because my prayers haven't been answered yet. Their names seem to fall by the wayside in my prayertime. Maybe the problem is that I am praying for my will and not for God's will to be done in that person's life. I think they should be or do this or that. Perhaps on my time table, it  has been a long time to pray without changes seen. But all this is all from my perspective.
1 Thessalonians 5: 17 says, "Pray without ceasing." So I should not STOP praying  for that person. God is hearing my prayers, working on His time table, not mine, working in His way, not mine. Keep on praying. I do not want people to give up and stop praying  for me, so I should continue praying for others.

In verse 2, Paul says to continue in prayer. Obviously, in order to continue then we must be doing it already.

This is an appeal to give constant attention to prayer. The Christian should persevere steadfastly in intercession.
Ephesians 6:18 states, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."

Philippians 4:6 says, "Be careful for nothing; but in ever thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." 

(Did you notice it said for ALL SAINTS?) That word ALL jumped out at me. Forgive me, Lord, for pickin' and choosin' for whom I pray.

Prayer was the secret to the prospering Colossian church (1:3-8). It would only continue to prosper through vigilance in prayer. We are to always pray with thanksgiving for the great things God has done.
(David Guzik)
So I am to continue to pray with thanksgiving. Pray for everything, whether joyful, or sorrowful, mercies temporal and spiritual, nation, family, and individual. (Jamison, Fausset, Brown Commentary)

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concening you."

I have learned some things from the Word today.


Verse 1 in this chapter talks to masters, employers, supervisors, bosses. Let's see what it says.

David Guzik's Commentaries on the Bible says:
Be just and fair to those who work for you. It is a terrible thing for a boss to cheat or mistreat his workers, but for worse for a Christian to do it. Christian masters or supervisors need to remember that they have a Master in heaven that they must answer to. Would they like God to treat them with the same measure of justice and fairness they have treated their workers with?

Just means what is due to others and equal means fairness. (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)

"Render on your part that which is right and fair; deal equitably. This would solve a lot of problems between management and  labor. God keeps His eye on the character and conduct of all me, and "every one of us whall gaive account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:12). Liberty Bible Commentary

As a Christian business owner, I shall be just and fair in the way I treat my employees. Treat others the way I want to be treated.


Continue in prayer and give thanks to God for all He has done and will do.

Treat employees just and fair.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Heartily Serving

Colossians 3-Part 7
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.  Colossians 3:23


As a woman, I serve in many capacities. I serve my family at home, my company at work, others at church. Am I a faithful servant of the Lord wherever I am?

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: (verse 22)
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.  (verses 24-25)
Masters, give unto your servants, that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.  (4:1)

What is a servant?
A servant is a slave, bondman, man of servile condition. (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)

Am I a servant?

Why do I serve?
Paul mentions three motivations for a service done with all my heart:
*for a reward (verse 24),
*sovereignty of the Lord, He's in control,
*wrongdoers will be repaid for wrong done (verse 25).

I think the main reason I serve is because I love my Lord and I love others.

How do I serve?
Verse 23 tells me to do my serving as though I am serving the Lord, not a person or others.

John Gill said, "Fear God who sees and knows all things that servants do when their masters are absent from them, and to whom they are accountable; a servant that fears God will make conscience of discharging his service faithfully, will not misspend his master's time, nor embezzle his goods, or waste his substance."

Paul uses the word "heartily" to describe our serving. Heartily means "of the source of conduct, as to be found in the state of the soul, its feelings, virtues, vices." (Thayer's Lexicon)

Literally, I am to werve out of the soul. Christians are to throw their souls into their work, and labor cheerfully and diligently. (Liberty Bible Commentary)


Where do I serve?
At home, church, work, everywhere.

Rick Warren, in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, said this:

God determines your greatness by how many people you serve, not how many people serve you.
How can you know if you have the heart of a servant? Jesus said,"You can tell what they are by what they do." Matthew 7:16 CEV

Warren said that real servants:
  • make themselves available to serve,
  • pay attention to needs,
  • do their best with what they have,
  • do every task with equal dedication,
  • are faithful to their ministry,
  • maintain a low profile.
We serve God by serving others.
Mark 10:43 (MSG) states, "Whoever wants to be great must become a servant."

Service starts in your mind. To be a servant, I must think like a servant.
Servants think:
  • more about others than about themselves, 
  • like stewards, not owners,
  • about their work, not what others are doing,
  • base their identity in Christ,
  • of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation.

Which of these characteristics of real servants offers the greatest challenge to me? Am I usually more concerned about being served or finding ways to serve others? Do I have a heart for serving?


However I serve, whatever I do, do it heartily with all my soul, as though I am serving Jesus.

Give it my all, doing my best, so it honors the Lord.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Submit and Obey

Colossians 3-Part 6
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.     Colossians 3:17


While in high school, I was sent to Girls State convention as our representative. Maybe I was chosen because my achievements met the criterion or because my father was a World War II veteran. At any rate, I represented my school, town, and local auxilliary of the VFW, Veterans of Foreign War. Whose representative am I now? Paul tells shows us in verse 17.

Liberty Bible Commentary states:
Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. In all relations of life, act as His representative, obeying His word, trusting in His power, and devoted to His service. We should live Christ-centered lives. All of the life must be Christian; belief relates to behavior; creed issues in conduct; and doctrine relates to duty.

How do I represent Christ to the world around me?


My Christian commitment affects every area of life, including the family. Naturally, Paul addressed the Christian responsibilities in this area in verses 18-21:
  • Wives submit to own husband.
  • Husbands, love your wife and don't be bitter against them.
  • Children obey your parents in all things.
What is the result if this is followed?
  • Wives honor the Lord.
  • Husbands love their wife without causing them to be irritated or resentful.
  • Children please the Lord.
  • Fathers encourage their children.
According to Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, submit means to subject one's self, to obey, to submit to one's control; fit refers to duty, as was fitting; obey means to harken to a command, be obedient unto; bitter means exasperate, to embitter, render angry, indignant, irritated.
Embitter means make resentful, in Webster's Dictionary.

David Guzik says it this way:
As is fitting in the Lord does not define the extent of a wife's submission. It does not define the limit of a wife's submission. It defines the motive of a wife's submission. It means, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands because it is a part of your duty to the Lord, because it is an expression of your submission to the Lord." They submit simply because it is fitting in the Lord to do it. It honors God's Word and His order of authority. It is part of their Christian duty and discipleship.

Shaunti Feldhahn, in her book, For Women Only, concuded through surveys of men: 
*A man deeply needs the woman in his life to respect his knowledge, opinions, and decisions-what I would
  call his judgment.
*Women hold an incredible power in the way we communicate with our men to build them up or to tear
   them down, to encourage or to exasperate.
*Dozens of men told me how painful it is when their wives cariticized them in public, put them down, or even
  question their judgment in front of others.  
*Men need respect in our assumptions-that he needs reminding, he chooses not to help in a situation, that it's
  his fault it happened.
*A man's heart is powerfully touched by a few simple words: "I'm so proud of you."

Am I submitting unto my own husband? When I do so, I am honoring God's Word and His order of authority.


Represent Christ to my best ability.

Submit to my own husband.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

No Place Like Home

Colossians 3-Part 5
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Colossians 3:16


I can walk through our house in the middle of the night with complete darkness without any problems. That is, unless an unexpected door is closed, a laundry basket or toy is not in my path, then I stub my toe. It's because this is my childhood home of 18 years; the place where I grew up. I know all the corners and turns, rooms and doorways. I have lived here almost 5 years since then.
There's no place like home, as Dorothy reminded us, especially after meeting the challenges of a  work day. Home a place of retreat, comfort, relaxation. Home is where your heart is. It's my dwelling place. Do I consider God's Word a "dwelling place?"

Webster's Dictionary states that the word "let" means to allow, permit, cause.
Do I allow God's Word to dwell in me?

In her daily devotional book, Joni Eareckson Tada says:
When the apostle Paul says, "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly," he is reminding us that Scripture should find a home in our hearts. We should dwell in it. Richly. For like any home, we should know God's Word like the back of our hand. God wants His Word to find a home in your heart. For you, it can be a strong refuge, or a restful sanctuary from a pressure-filled world. Wherever life takes you, home can be as close as your heart, as close as that Bible next to you.

John Wesley said, "To dwell was not a short stay or an occassional visit, but take up its stated residence."

During the years my family lived elsewhere, we would occassionally visit my mother, who lived here in this same house. It wasn't my  residence back then, only a place to visit. Is God's Word only a place where I visit on Sundays or occassionally when in need of help? Or is it my spiritual  home? Do I memorize the Word so I can take it with me wherever I go?

All the Scripture is inspired by God, edited by the Spirit of Christ. We are to search, carefully attend, diligently read, frequently meditate upon the Scriptures. It furnishes us with all spiritual wisdom. Let the Word
take up residence, never to depart. Develop a steady faith in and an affection for the Scriptures. Make It a rich treasure, an invaluable mine of precious truths. (John Gill)


What else is Paul instructing us to do? He says to teach and admonish one another. How do I do that? Use  psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Admonishing means to put in mind, to caution or reprove gently, warn, according to Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

As we teach the Scriptures, it should be a caution, a repoof, a warning. Not only are we to teach God's Word, but we are to sing the Word, too. We can sing choruses, hymns, new spiritual songs. How am I to sing them? With grace in my heart to the Lord. sing His praises. Sing as an expression of gratitude and worship. Not just in the church building, but throughout my day. We have the message of God's love and redemption in Jesus Christ. (Shepherd's Notes)

So, am I teaching, admonishing, singing God's Word? Am I encouraging others to have joy in Jesus?


Allow God's Word to take up perminent residence in my heart by reading, meditating, and treasuring It.

Faithfully teach God's Word to others.

Singing praises to the Lord.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The New Me

Colossians 3-Part 4
And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against any one; just as the Lord forgave you so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 
Colossians 3:12-15 NAS


Last fall when I was visiting my daughter in Rhode Island, she showed me a new book she read. It was by Shari Braendel, called Good Girls don't have to Dress Bad. I was captivated by it and had to buy one when I returned home. After reading the book, I changed my winter wardrobe of browns and blacks, being a fall colored person, to bright yellows, hot pinks, deep purples, and Christmas reds. This is my new color scheme after the body analysis. I purchased new sweaters with those colors, but now that spring is here, I haven't a thing to wear (those colors, that is). My attire must change. Paul tells us how to clothe ourselves. He gives the attire of the new person, his spiritual wardrobe. Shall we check it out?

Yesterday we talked about the old nature and characteristics we are to get rid of. Today we see the new clothing of the Christian, the new me, which begins with personal attributes:

*Compassion-mercy in action; a heartfelt sympathy for the less fortunate

*Kindness-thoughtfulness of others; unselfishness, sweetness of disposition, gentleness, and graciousness;
                   an inner attitude

*Humility-an outward expression of the inner attitude; modesty, places self last and least

*Gentleness-meekness not weakness, but lowliness; delicate consideration for others; the opposite of
                      arrogance and self-assertion; pride has no place in the Christian's life

*Patience-long suffering under provocation; restraint which enables one to bear injury and insult without
                resorting to retaliation; accepts the wrong without complaint

*Bearing with one another-put up with things we dislike and get along with those who disagree

*Forgiving each other-always treats the offending party graciously; forgives and forgets
  Charizomai is the Greek word for forgiving and is built on the same root as the word grace and means to
   bestow favor unconditionally. We forgive unconditionally, without stipulations or requirements.
A quarrel is a cause of blame, a ground for complaint. Forgive as Christ forgave me.

I put this as the glow instead of grow, because a Christian's life should be glowing with these attributes. They should be prevelent in my life. Do I need a new spiritual wardrobe?


What is on top of all those things Paul mentioned previously? What is the outter garment?  Love, charity, is the basis and cloak of all the graces (1Cor.13:13). Love is the bond that binds the others together. Love completes us. Love is more important than anything else in the Christian life. It is the love of God expressed in His redemption for the Christian. This love must be put on "above all," for it is the identifying mark of the genuine believer.
The peace of Christ is to rule in my heart, thoughts, feelings, desires. It is to settle all questions, as an umpire.
"Let the peace of God be the umpire in your life," says David Guzik.

Then I am to be thankful. Thankful for everything and thankful in all situations. After all, it could be worse.
Thank God for what He is doing and will do. Be thankful. I can't be thankful enough. How about you? Are you working on the 1,000 things for which you are thankful? I'm only on number 106 and I started last month.
[Resources: Liberty Bible Commentary, Shepherd's Notes]


Let go of those hurtful feelings and forgive.

Have and show compassion, humility, patience, forbearance, kindness, gentleness, forgiveness,  and love.

Submit to the Holy Spirit for these qualitites.

Enjoy the peace of Christ.

Be thankful.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Time to Get Rid of It

Colossians 3-Part 3
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don't be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don't lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.  Colossians 3:5-9 NLT


Verse 10 of NLT says, "Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.  In this new life, it doesn't matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us."
I am to be clothed in the new person since I've been saved. I am to be renewed, constantly being renewed (anakaineo). The ol' gal is continuously being renewed, maturing, developing spiritually.There are no distinctons in this process. Christ is all, and in all. Did you catch that? Christ is everything. He's all that matters.


Speaking of clothing, since the warmer weather is here, it's time to get rid of the winter clothing and bring out the summer things. I like the bright, light weight caprees and blouses. Though packing up sweaters and long-sleeved shirts isn't my idea of a way to spend an enjoyable morning, it is fun to have my favorites back to wear. Paul is telling us some things we need to get rid of, as a Christian.

My old self, old nature, seems to pop up every now and then. It is to be crucified in order that sin might be rendered ineffective in the believer's life.
Romans 6:6 says, "Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin."  (NAS)

Shepherd's Notes tells us:
The first five are sins of personal aggression. The individual who commits them thinks more of himself than he does of others. Paul gives two reasons why Christians should never practice these sins. They bring the wrath of God (verse 6), and they characterize the former life of sin and rebellion (verse 7).

What are the first five?
1. Sexual immorality-adultery, breaking the covenant marriage and fornication, sex outside of marriage
2. Impurity-failure to have the proper attitued to God's gift of sexuality
3. & 4. Lust and evil desires-refer to strong desires gone bad
5. Greed-covetousness, longing for something that belongs to someone else.

We may have been committing those sins before we became a Christian, Paul is reminding us. Now that we are a child of God, we are to get rid of them in our hearts and life.
" Idolatry is the worship of false gods, putting things in place of God," Liberty Bible Commentary tells us.

I don't want to be a child that is disobedient. Therefore, I need to make sure I get rid of the next five things According to LBC, Paul mentions:
1. Anger-uncontrolled temper, revengeful resentment
2. Rage-wrath that is boiling agitation, fiery outburst of temper
3. Malicious behavior-malice, a vicious disposition, willful desire to injure, refoicing in evil to others
4. Slander-blasphemy which is slanderous talk, evil speaking, railing insults, reckless and bitter abuse
5. Dirty language-filthy communication, obscene speech, shameful speaking, foul-mouthed abuse, unclean

One more thing Paul says-do not lie to each other. In the Greek, the present tense is used, which says to stop lying. There is no such thing as  "a little white lie." All lies are big and black.

Since the old nature, my old self, is corrupt, useless, not renewed, not converted, I am to get rid of her. It's time.
James tells us to bridle our tongue in James 1:26 and 3:1-9. The Lord needs to keep my words under control as a horse needs a brittle to control where it goes.

I'm ready for a change of clothes, physically and spiritually. How about you?


Let go of any sinful habits, sins of the heart, sins of the mouth, sins of the mind.

Daily let Christ be my all in all.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wanted: Dead and Alive

Colossians 3-Part 2
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ is God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.     Colossians 3:3-4


When my mother was the local postmistress, I would often walk to the post office after school. There hanging on the bulletin board were the description and pictures of notorious criminals who were wanted.
I recall reading about them, why, I don't know. I guess it was a way to kill time, or else I was courious as to what they did. They must have done something bad to have their picture on the wanted list in the post office, though. They were wanted alive, not dead, so they could go to trial for the crime they committed. What good would it do if the criminal was dead?

In verse 3, Paul says we are dead. The old Linda is dead, permanently dead. The selfish, sinful ol' gal is forever gone. That's because Jesus Christ forgave her of her sins and became her Savior. Now I am alive, hid in Christ, permanently hid in Christ. His blood covers me, makes me pure, washes away my sins.
I'm glad to be dead, aren't you?

Adrian Roges said, "My will dies and God's will lives in me."
Romans 6:11 says, "Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

So I need to act like I'm dead when it comes to sinning. Dead people can't do things. I am suppose to not be sinning. Anyway, stop doing it.


My new life source is Christ:

* In John 14:6, Jesus saith unto him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,
   but by me."

*"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain," Paul said in Philippians 1:21.

*1 John 5:11-12 states, "And this is the record,that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."

* "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should abe called the sons of God: therefore the worlk knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know thet, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is," says 1 John 3 1-2.

Life means real and genuine; a life active and vigerous, devoted to God; blesses. (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)

I'm a new person since I'm alive with Christ in me. I have eternal life with Christ. So I should act like it.
Easier said than done, I know. That's why I am to walk in the Spirit so I don't fulfill the lusts of my flesh.
Tomorrow's lesson teaches us how this new person is to live.


Bury my dead person and her sinful ways.

Be alive with Christ.

Learn more about Jesus and how He lived, then follow His example.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Seek and Set

Colossians 3-Part 1
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.   Colossians 3:1-2


Where is Christ? He is sitting on the right side, on the right hand of God. He is second in command, being on the right hand. He is interceeding for us to God the Father. He is our High Priest. It's His righteousness that clothes us so we can enter the throne room. Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty. The One who was, is, and is to come. We bow down and worship Him, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Worthy is the Lamb to be worshipped.


When I think of the word set, I think of setting the table. Whether it was with china and silver or Melmac and stainless steel, mom had me to set the table when I was a kid. I learned the proper place for the fork is on the left of the plate, the knife then spoon go on the right side. Where do I set my affections? On things above or on things on the earth? It's a deliberate thing, to set something.

Set means the ability or competency to do a thing; seek means the desire, endeavor, enquire, to go about, according to the Greek Dictionary of the New Testament.
Since I am raised in new life with Christ, Paul tells me to keep on seeking spiritual things.
2 Corinthians 4:18 says, While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Seek those upward things-heavenly crowns with jewels, treasures of heaven where moths and rust don't corrupt and thieves don't steal (Matt. 6:20), and Christ, my Savior who is on the throne in His place of authority. Paul gives heavenly motives for earthly duties.
What are my desires? What do I go about seeking?

"Keep on thinking about and directing your mind toward heavenly things. We should seek everything in the light of eternity. The Christian must be heavenly-minded, not worrying about earthly things," states Liberty Bible Commentary.

Where do I set my affections?
Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible defines affection as to mind, think. It is the Greek word phroneo.

Now that is different from what I thought affection meant. Paul wasn't talking about the way I show love,
but what I think on. What my mind is dwelling on, I care about.

Joni Eareckson Tada, in her devotional book, Diamond in the Dust, said this:
We must set our hearts and minds on things above. In other words, things above are to capture our imaginations, emotions, thoughts, feelings, ideas, and on and on. When you consider that the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart and mind, it follows naturally that we should set our hearts on things above "where Christ is seated at the right hand of God."
So live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, abide by the Spirit, pray in the Spirit, and you can't help but glean a real and deep longing for heavenly glories above.
What enriches your spirit? Filling your heart and mind with whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, or anything excellent or praiseworthy. What enriches your spirit? Accessing the means of grace through prayer, worship, the reading of God's Word, and fellowship. What enriches your spirit? Trusting and obeying your Lord.


Seek those things above, where Christ is.

Set my affections, thoughts, on Christ and heaven.

Let go of the world and fleshly lusts and let God's Spirit direct me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

No, No, No

Colossians 2-Part 7
You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, "Don't handle! Don't taste! Don't touch!"? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and servere bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person's evil desires.    
 Colossians 2:20-23 NLT


Probably the most common word a toddler learns to say, after dada and mamma, is no, no, no. We say it hundreds of times a day as moms, or so it seems. We try to teach our children right and wrong for their own sake. We try to keep them from getting hurt. Do I say no to God in the same way I said no to my children? Paul must have been quite knowledgeable on the Gnostic religion. He teaches the Colossians why they should not do as these legalists did.

Since we died at the time of our conversion, we are seperated from the world, the ABC's of elememtary spiritual instructions. Paul mentions the Gnostic rules concerning meat and drink (Col. 2:16). They have the "don't do" and we simply have "do because we are in Christ." Their dietary laws forbid certain foods and drinks. They observed holy days. Their practices were enslaving.

David Guzik said, "Self-imposed religion is man reaching to God, trying to justify himself by keeping a list of rules. Christianity is God reaching down to man in love through Christ."

Are we any different from the people who lived in New Testament times? The problem is, we stray away from Christ and reading His Word. Then we become more like the world. We would rather keep rules instead of living by love-love for God and love for others. Where's our faith and obedience? We think that makes us okay with God instead of repenting of our sins. Ouch!


Paul says that those rules of the Gnostics require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. Maybe I should be the same way toward my Christian beliefs-strong in devotion to Christ and reading His Word, devout in self-denial, and severe and serious in bodily discipline. Then it would be a good thing. Sounds like homework to me. Will you join me?

Did you notice the last sentence? Their rules gave them no help in conquering their evil desires. Jesus is available when we ask for His help in resisting temptations and evil desires. He has overcome the world. He is all-powerful. Do I call on Him for help or try to manage on my own?


Let go of the rules, just love God and people.

Develop a strong devotion to Christ.

Be devout in self-denial.

Get serious about disciple concerning my body.

Say yes to God instead of no.

Show love today.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Colossians 2-Part 6
Don't let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nurishes it.   Colossians 2:18-19 (NLT)


Getting up in the morning can be quiet an experience when you're on the down hill slide (over 50). I hear snap, crackle, and pop when I rise, bend over for houseshoes, reach for a glass of water. Anyone with me? If you don't have such daily events, hang on, friend, they are around the corner. Enjoy today.
I suppose all this added morning music means my body's joints are worn and muscles have been stretched many a mile. I'm thankful to be alive to hear it.

Paul uses the body as an analogy in our scriptures. Christ holds the church body (members) together because He is the head. He supplies nurishment, unity, and growth for His church. He keeps the members united, in spite of our diversity. However, the Gnostics lacks the vital connection with Christ and has never been a part of the body. (Liberty Bible Commentary)  

I need to keep my focus on Christ, who is my Head.


KJV  says verse 18 this way, "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seeen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."

Paul is warning the Colossians against false philosophy:
*Don't let them rob you of your reward (prize).
*Look for a mocking (voluntary) humility.
*They worship angels (not Christ).
*Hallucinate, imagine and invent revelations, alleged visions.
*They are vainly puffed up (conceited, prideful).
*They are fleshly minded (unregenerated nature dominates, not spiritual nature).

I should look out for these characteristics when discussing religious beliefs with people. Then, make sure I do not do them.


Be grateful for life with its challenges.

Stay focused on Christ and not be enticed by other religious beliefs.

Recognize a false philosophy by staying in the Word of God.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


229.  "Lists"                                       April 5, 2011

Colossians 2-Part 5
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.          Colossians 2:14-15


I don't know if it is due to my forgetfulness because of my age, or what. I have to make lists. There's the grocery list so needed items are purchased, the things-to-do list so they get done, and the list of events for the month so I don't forget them. Whew! Now where did I put my list?

There was a rap sheet, a debit ledger, a list of my sins, that condemed me before God. It included those things I was guilty of committing, my sins, my breaking of the law. (I'm sure it was quite long.) However, it was cancelled, stamped paid in full, by the blood of Jesus Christ that He shed on the cross. Now that's good news! I don't have to pay for my sins; Jesus did it for me. But, that is humbling, too. He didn't have to do it. He did it because He loves me, a sinner. Thank You Lord Jesus, for the price You paid for me!

Blotting means to obliterate, erase, wipe out, according to Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

Liberty Bible Commentary says:
This explains forgiveness. The bond here is the certification of debt, the instrument of condemnation, the indictment drawn up against a prisoner, and a signed confession of indebtedness. It was blotted out, taken out of the way, and nailed to His cross. This was a once-for-all removal. In the East, a bond is cancelled by nailing it to the post. Our bond of guilt was nailed to His cross.
The weapons of the evil ones, the principalities and powers, are disarmed. It was by His death that Christ conquered His enemies, stripped them of their power, exposed them to public disgrace, held them up in contempt, and led them captive in His triumph.

According to Ephesians 1:21-22, all things are under His feet.
Even after 40 years of being a Christian, it still amazes me. but that's a good thing, isn't it?


"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ,"
states verses 16-17.

In other words, no one should act as our judge, condemning us for what we eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or ceremonies or Sabbaths. Christ is the reality.
Beck version of the New Testament says "The real things are in Christ."

These matters listed are matters of legalism. Paul was warning the Colossians about them. Before Christ came, these were a shadow of things to come. Now that He has come, we don't have to observe them in order to be right before God.

"Days and foods, as observed under the Mosaic Law, aren't binding upon New Covenant people. Don't judge another brother or sister who does or doesn't obseve such laws," according to David Guzik.


My sins were nailed to the cross and forgiven.


Be free in Christ.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Who am I?

Colossians 2-Part 4
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.  Colossians 2:9-10


As my extended family got together for a dinner following my aunt's memorial, I ask,"Who am I?" Well the answer is: a neice, a cousin, a daughter, a mother, a wife, a friend. Most importantly the attribute I would add to the list would be Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. Who are you? Who is Jesus? Paul explained in this chapter.

All attributes and deity are in Christ. Nowhere else are they found. Jesus was God and man. He had two natures. All we need is in Christ (1Cor.1:30). He is our source of grace and truth. We show no other allegiance to anyone else and we submit to no other authority. Christ is the Head; the source of life; sovereign over life. Liberty Bible Commentary

Yes, that's who He is. Of course, we could add Savior, King, Redeemer, Messiah, Lamb of God, my sacrifice, Almighty God.
Do I know who I am? I'm a child of the gracious and merciful God. Are you?
I am complete in Christ. The scripture says I am, so why do I not act like it?


Read verses 11-13 and find out who we are in Christ:
  • circumcised without hands (verse 11)
  • have sins of the body put off (verse 11)
  • buried with Him in baptism (verse 12)
  • raised with Him through faith (verse 12)
  • dead in our sins (verse 12)
  • quickened of all our trespasses (verse 13).
It's all because of the love of Jesus Christ, I'm alive and all of these things above. Easter is only two weeks away, but we can celebrate our risen Lord today!


Know who I am in Christ and let go of the old sinner that I was before I met Him.

Be a new person, raised from the dead.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Colossians 2-Part 3
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.         Colossian 2: 9


Nowhere else do we find the fulness of the Godhead, but in Christ Jesus. He has all the attributes and essence of deity; he's not only divine, but deity; not only Godlike, but God; not a nature like God, but a nature the same as God's. (Liberty Bible Commentary)

David Guzik said, "Since all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus, He cannot be a halfway God or a 'junior god.' The Gnostic heresies mad a radical seperation between the spiritual  and the natural."

NLT says it this way,"For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body."

To me, believing who Christ Jesus is, is a foundamental doctine of the Christian faith. If I believe He is God, then why don't I trust Him to work things out in my life, since God is all-powerful? I have to let go, and let God handle things, don't I?


I remember playing marbles as a kid with my older brother. The object of the game was to use the big marble to knock the other marbles out of the circle drawn in the dirt. As I recall, he always won. He  could use his thumb to send the big marble flying across the dirt hitting others out of the circle. Of course I didn't realize the difference at the time. It wasn't that he was deceitful, but that he was stronger than I. Needless to say, marbles was not my favorite game to play. Beware-the devil wants to knock us out of the Christian ring of faith. He tries to water down the Word of God, change it. He tries to mke divisons in the chruch so we stop going. Don't let him be the big marble-let God.

Let's go back to verse 8. It says: "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."  

NLT  says, "Don't let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ."

Paul is warning the Colossians to be on their guard, keep a watchful eye open, be alert. Why? Because the enemy is lurking in darkness. He wants to kidnap us and seduce us from faith in Christ. Don't be taken captive as a prisoner of war, lead away into slavery. Am I a slave to materialism, self desires, traditions, works?

David Guzik said, "Don't be cheated by what comes from man."

Henry Blackaby said, "There is a subtle temptation that encourages Christians to be 'practical.' That is, they try to do God's work in man's way. 'Getting results' becomes the primary focus. An examination of God's Word shows that the means are sometimes even more important than the results. The children of Israel marched around Jericho thirteen times then blew their trumpets and it brought down the walls (Josh. 6).
It did not appear wise to select the youngest of Jesse's sons to become the next king, but God saw a man after His own heart. (1Sam. 16:11)."

The Gnostics false teaching was dependent on human tradition, astrology, angelic powers, and non-Christian.
(Shepherd's Notes)

"The way that the world thinks and acts is contrary to the way that Jesus thinks and acts," said David Guzik.

Here we have human reasoning versing divine revelation; man's theories versus God's truth; fables versus facts; ritualism and materialism verses Christ's Way.

Am I attempting to do God's work man's way or my way? Am I being practical instead of seeking God's will in matter?


Let Jesus be the Lord of my life and not me.

Be aware of wrong beliefs.

Stay in God's Word.